07 Oct

Exploring New York City with Citi Bike

While visiting New York City as tourists, we quickly began to appreciate just how huge the city is. So what is the best way to get around and see this amazing place?

The NYC subway is great and all, but with a $2.75 flat fee ride, it costs us $11 round trip anytime we want to go somewhere in the city. Travis thoroughly researched the Citi Bike program in NYC, as we’ve been seeing docking stations all over town. It turns out that at a cost of $10 p.p./day or $25 p.p./7 days, this absolutely saves us money and we also get a workout in between pizza slices!

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How exactly does it work? It’s simple. You walk up to any City Bike docking station (find one using their app or website), insert your credit card and pick whether you want to rent for 24 hours or for 7 days. If you’re local, discounted annual memberships can be purchased online. The appropriate charge will be placed on your card, along with a temporary $100 damage deposit. If you want to rent two bikes, you can insert the same card again and accept an additional charge for a second bike. Easy!

When you’re ready to ride a bike, insert your credit card at any docking station and it will give you a 5-digit code. Remember the code, walk over to a bicycle of your choosing and enter the code to unlock the bike. Adjust the seat height and you’re done! Now you’re cruising around on two wheels!

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Note that helmets are not included with the Citi Bike rental. If you consider yourself a responsible adult, you should probably find a bike store to rent one. We took our chances, but we fully admit that riding bicycles without a helmet is a bonehead move and fairly dangerous on the streets of New York. Do as we say, not as we do.

Cruising southbound in Manhattan on the Hudson River Greenway bike trail. We found the waterfront on the west side of the city to have the best bike path for north/south travel, and the least stressful way to get up to Central Park and environs.

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Really, the only secret to using Citi Bike is that upon checking out a bike from a docking station, you must return the bike to any other docking station within 30 minutes or suffer additional charges (starting at $4 and scaling up). To avoid this, all you have to do is start a 25-minute timer on your phone when you check out a bike. When the alarm goes off, stop where you are, pull up the handy Citi Bike app on your phone and find the nearest docking station. Dock your bike, wait 3 minutes (mandatory waiting time) then check out your bikes again for another 30 minutes!

Citi Bike Docking Station NYC Manhattan

The service is very user-friendly and you can check out bikes an unlimited number of times, 24-hours a day. Pretty much all the bikes we used were in good working condition. Also, there are so many docking stations in both Manhattan and Brooklyn that we were never close to the 30-minute limit. It was a great success!

We recommend riding over the Brooklyn Bridge for great views of the skyline. We did this several times to get into Manhattan, since we were staying in Brooklyn.

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Brooklyn itself is also good for biking, as it’s more residential, has a decent number of bike lanes, and less traffic.

Citi Bike Brooklyn

Happy biking!

Citi Bike Docking Station NYC

  • $25 for the week is very affordable compared to $2.75 per transit ride. I’ve always wanted to give the bike rentals a shot but with young kids it’s not a feasible choice (yet).

    • Travis

      Once your kids are old enough, you’ll all be cruising around as a bike posse!